Meals on Wheels: Who's referring and what's on the menu?
Objective: To describe referral source, meal ordering patterns and the nutrient composition of meals from a regional Meals on Wheels (MOW) service.
Methods: Referral sources were obtained via retrospective chart audit and compared for 2008 and 2012. Nutrient content of the three most common meal combinations was compared against MOW recommendations of one-third daily energy and one-half daily protein requirements.
Results: There was a decline in overall uptake and referrals from hospitals. The "main meal" alone was the most popular meal choice, but did not meet energy requirements for men or women, nor protein requirements for men. The combination of a soup, main and dessert met the MOW recommendations for women only.
Conclusions: Investigation into how older people access MOW services is required. Innovative strategies are required to increase the nutrient content of meals, within the context of meal ordering preferences of consumers.